Research Paper on Schizophrenia: Reality as Nightmare Fuel
Perhaps, one of the most widely known mental disorders due to the frequent mentioning thereof in fiction, schizophrenia is often misrepresented. As a result, major damage may occur to the people suffering from the disorder in question. Moreover, the unsuspecting neighbors living in the vicinity may be affected.
Despite the fact that schizophrenia is often viewed as a synonym for multiple personality disorder, the difference between the two is, in fact, quite drastic. While the multiple personality disorder involves the patients’ hearing voices in their heads for the most part, schizophrenia does not necessarily mean that the patient should have a split personality, yet media defines people’s idea of schizophrenia. As a result, people put themselves and schizophrenics in a considerable peril because of the representation of schizophrenia in media.
Despite a common misconception, schizophrenia is far more complex than the development of a multiple personality disorder. According to the existing definition, the phenomenon can be identified as a “complex disease with psychotic, mood, and cognitive features” (Kapur & Seeman, 2001, p. 366). In addition, researches show that multiple personality disorder does not necessarily manifest itself in the course of schizophrenia development: “Persons have constellations of maladaptive personality traits that are not well described by just one or even multiple personality disorder diagnoses” (Widiger, 2011, p. 104). Instead, the lack of adaptation towards social interactions should be viewed as the key symptom for schizophrenia development in a patient (Strean, 2014).
The research in question will be carried out as a combination of a qualitative and a quantitative study, since the relationships between the key variables will be evaluated from a qualitative perspective, yet they will have to be quantified in order to assess the scale of the problem and locate a reasonable solution. The data will be conducted from a general literature review, as well as from a group of participants including five people. The participants will be provided with a questionnaire that will contain ten questions and a Likert scale for marking the answer. The questions will concern the participants’ understanding of schizophrenia as a phenomenon and its relation to the multiple personality disorder.
The interpretation of schizophrenia and its key symptoms is the major dependent variable of the study. Among the independent variables, exposure to popular media, including the traditional one (fiction books, movies, word of the mouth, etc.) and the modern ones (social networks, discussion forums, etc.) will be considered.
As the study has shown, most people tend to think that schizophrenia and a multiple personality disorder are closely related to each other; additionally, 30% of the respondents view the specified terms as synonyms. The above-mentioned tendency for people to relate the two phenomena together is obviously disturbing, as it may affect the understanding of the nature and symptoms of schizophrenia. More importantly, according to the participants’ responses, 70% of tem will fail to recognize the actual symptoms of schizophrenia. Finally, the information concerning the respondents’ reaction towards a fit of schizophrenia shows rather clearly that 50% of people have no idea what actions must be taken in order to address the needs of a patient with the disorder under analysis. 905 of the participants have confessed that their understanding of schizophrenia was defined mostly by media, including movies and fiction novels. Moreover, the study has revealed that the people relying on their perception of schizophrenia based on fiction novels and popular movies have a wrong idea of the subject matter in 80% of the cases.
The results provided above show that the rates of awareness regarding the subject of schizophrenia, as well as the means of not only treating it, but also determining the problem at the earliest stages and reporting about it, are drastic. Which is even more depressing, the impact of media in general and modern media in particular on the participants’ understanding of what schizophrenia is, how it should be diagnosed and how it needs to be treated, is huge.
It is also quite peculiar that the ideas of schizophrenia differ drastically among the participants, who were exposed to modern media and those, who used traditional one. It can be assumed that the exposure to social network invites an opportunity for locating the site that addresses the concept of schizophrenia from a professional viewpoint, whereas most motion pictures and fiction books use clichés related to schizophrenia and, therefore, have little to do with reality, recycling the old concept of the multiple personality disorder as the key schizophrenia symptom.
Seeing that the results of schizophrenia nature misinterpretations are drastic and may involve not only the injury of the people in the vicinity by the patient, but also the deterioration of the latter’s mental health, mass awareness regarding the issue of schizophrenia and its key symptoms must be increased. The misconception regarding the multiple personality disorder as the key symptom of schizophrenia must be addressed immediately. As far as the measures for managing the issue in question are concerned, it is suggested that trustworthy resources should be promoted as the key ways of learning about schizophrenia.
Kapur, S. & Seeman, P. (2001). Does fast dissociation from the dopamine D2 receptor explain the action of atypical antipsychotics? A new hypothesis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158(3), 360–369.
Strean, H. S. (2014). Psychoanalytic approaches with the hostile and violent patient. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
Widiger, T. A. (2011). Personality and psychopathology. Lexington, KY: Department of Psychology.